FFP2 masks are mandatory in Bavaria from Monday. Here you can find out what makes the masks so special, where you can get them and how you can recognize fakes.
From Monday you can only shop in Bavaria with an FFP2 mask and use local public transport. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) announced this on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting. The aim is to improve safety in local public transport and in retail. FFP2 masks are now readily available and in abundance.
What are FFP2 masks?
FFP masks or particle-filtering half masks protect wearers from droplets and aerosols, explains the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). FFP2 masks filter at least 94 percent of aerosols from the air, FFP3 masks 99 percent. So they primarily serve to protect yourself. This distinguishes them from mouth and nose covers and medical face masks, which are primarily intended to protect the environment from infection.
Danger: It’s best to buy an FFP2 mask without a filter. Models with a filter only protect the wearer, not the environment.
Where can I buy FFP2 masks?
FFP2 masks are available in drug stores, pharmacies and online, among others. They cost between three and six euros, and packs of several masks are often cheaper than individual products. However, not all offers are tested models. Sometimes defective or counterfeit FFP2 masks are also sold.
How do I recognize real FFP2 masks?
Real and fake FFP2 masks cannot be distinguished with the naked eye. The information on the packaging can, however, provide information about whether the products are tested.
Tested FFP2 masks must meet the following criteria:
- Name of manufacturer or brand, address
- CE mark and four-digit test number (You can find the number on the website the European Commission.)
- Number and year of publication of the European standard: DIN marking EN 149: 2009-08
Note: Masks that have been tested according to the Chinese standard carry the designation KN95. You may not have to meet the criteria if you have undergone a special approval or a short test from an approved body. In that case, you should receive a corresponding certificate with the purchase.
You can find out which FFP2 masks have already been identified as fakes in the Database the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Am I entitled to free FFP2 masks?
From December 15, 2020 to January 6, 2021, members of risk groups could pick up free FFP2 masks in pharmacies. Afterwards, authorized persons should receive two forgery-proof coupons by post, which they can exchange for six masks each, with a contribution of two euros. According to the Techniker Krankenkasse the following groups:
- People aged 75 and over
- People aged 70 and over and people with certain chronic diseases
- People over 60 years
The delivery should take place in the course of January, but is expected delay.
Can you reuse FFP2 masks?
- FFP2 masks are single use products and are not intended to be reused.
- According to examination of the Münster University of Applied Sciences and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, the number of pathogens applied by carriers should decrease within 7 days. The researchers recommend FFP2 masks from the seventh day at the earliest to wear again.
- FFP2 masks cannot be washed.
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